Hey guys! I'm in Washington D.C. right now, but I've left my blog in good hands! I have some amazing women lined up this week for you, starting with Megan from runMegan with a Couch to 5K guide!
So you've decided to run a 5k!!! Now what? For most people this is a huge commitment. As you start this journey, know that only 4% of the US population identifies them selves as runners and only 0.5% of the US population has completed a Marathon! Let me be the first to say, welcome to the club.
Step One - Check with your physician
Before starting ANY exercise program check with your physician to make sure your are medically cleared to run. Once you have their blessing (in some cases they are the ones that suggested you do this) you are on your way.
Step Two - Get fitted for shoes
It has been my experience that shoes make all the difference in how your body feels and in injury prevention. One of the easiest ways to stay injury free is to get fitted for a new pair of shoes. The biggest mistake I see is when new runners don't invest the time to get fitted for running shoes. When a runner says "get fitted" he/she is referencing the process of going to a local running store, like the Running Room (upper Midwest), Marathon Sports (Minneapolis, MN), Running Away Multisport (Deerfield, Il). These trained professionals will tell you what shoe works best for you, if you pronate left, pronate right and what type of foot striker you are. Plan to spend about an hour getting fitted. Wear pants that you can roll up to you knees, they'll want to see how you foot and ankle perform. Their are micro moves these joints/muscles make and they just want to get you into the right shoe.
Step Three - Make your plan
Schedule your running time. Just like you schedule doctor appoints, work meeting and date nights, schedule your running time. If you don't think that you'll make your runs, get an running buddy or an accountability buddy. I text my Big Sis every night "jab cross?". That is my friendly reminder to her that we are going to Kickboxing . Then at lunch time I text her the time class starts , so she knows I'll be there.
If you can't get an accountability buddy, don't despair, technology is to the rescue. Technology can be your accountability buddy. There are several different apps that can keep you accountable and motivated.
Pact - is an app that you wager how many times a week you will move for 30 minutes or more. Don't complete your Pact, pay in what you wagered. Complete your Pact and earn money.
Runkeeper - will allow you to set a goal i.e. How many times a week you want to workout, it will send you daily, every other day or weekly reminders to workout. Added bonus, This will also track your run times and mileage if running outside or you can manually enter your indoor treadmill runs too.
Every Move - this app rewards you for moving. It combines all of your movements, assigns a point value to them. You choose your reward based on point values. Most recently I've gotten a free 3 month Blue Box subscription.
Nudge - is a newcomer to the app market it gives you an overall daily health score based on sleep, food and water consumption.
My Fitness Pal - Is a food tracker and can be very helpful if your motivation is weight loss. This app truly works best when paired with a fitbit or up band.
Step 4 - Get out there and run!
This easy to follow couch to 5k plan will have you running your first 5k in no time. This 9 week plan from Cool Runnings will get you to your goal. Don't worry about your finish time. The goal of the first 5k is to finish standing up-right and to run the whole race. This may seem like a daunting task at first, but remember Rome was't build in a day.
When using the Cool Running plan, or any other couch to 5k plan,if it hurts stop doing it, if you need to rest longer, rest longer. Listen to your body. If you feel like you injured something, or something is broken/injured schedule an appointment with a sports medicine doctor, not a general practitioner. I had stress fractures in both shin bones and the general practitioner missed them.
Step Five - Pick your 5k
Now for the fun part, choosing your race. There are three types of races; road race, trail run and virtual. A road race is your most typical 5k run. Is is held on a road or paved trail. When most people think/hear 5k race this is what most people envision. Next is the trail run, this type of race is ran on a trail through the woods or in a area that is not paved. You'll be running over uneven ground. Lastly the virtual race. A virtual is a race that runners can participate in no matter where they are located. You choose the route or run on a treadmill and complete your 5k on your own.
To find a comprehensive list if road races,visit Active.com. Trail runs are usually done through your state's trail run association, google "your state trail runners association" to find their race schedule. Virtual runs are offered my many different vendors, I recommend Jost Running (www.jostrunning.com). Jost Running provides each runner with their own custom race bib and finishers medal. Why I love Jost Running, is that unlike other virtual races, everyone who submits a time gets to see their results published on the results page. This provides a huge sense of community that other virtual runs don't offer.
About the blogger:
runMegan has completed four 2-Day Breast Cancer Walks, countless 5k, 10k and ten half marathons. She is a member of the Half Fanatics, #1452. Her motto is "Run, Eat, Sleep". In 2013 she completed the Disney Coast to Coast Challenge running Tinkerbell in California and Princess in Florida. In 2014 runMegan joined Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador, SwirlGear, I'm Fit Possible and Girls Gone Sporty as a brand Ambassador. In 2014 runMegan will compete in her 11 half marathon, and also finds runMegan participating in #118forBoston, Moon Joggers, Run This Year, ilovekickboxing.com and Fit Body Boot Camps. When she is not running or working, she enjoys spending time with her Hubby and their Yellow Lab.
runMegan blogs at http://runMegan.com. You can find her on Twitter @dzalumni and on Instagram DZ_alumni.
What 5K's have you guys done?